The city in the
hilly region Berisches Land situated in the narrow
valley of the Wupper River was a big test site for the
Royal Air Force to try its incendiary bombs.
On 30 May 1943 600
bombers dropped 300,000 incendiary bombs on the city.
Guide to people left homeless
after air strike
The narrow streets
with their half-timbered hoses burned brightly, a fire
barrage ate through the thin valley of the Wupper.
Residents who could
not get to safety in time and fell into the hell-fire
heat burned to the extent that adult people shrank to
half a meter.
The charred remains
of bodies, in lack of other containers, were collected
in zinc bath tubes, washing and canning pots. It took
weeks to recover the 3,400 dead or their remains from
below the ruins.
The city was
destroyed to 80 percent.
A similar fate met
just three months later the neighboring town of
Remscheid in the region Bergisches Land. There were
11,000 houses out of 14,000 burned with fire bombs.
The pride of Wuppertal,
the suspension railroad, was not spared either